NORMAN — At the beginning of the new year, the City of Norman can expect to start undergoing some changes.
City officials expect construction to begin in January on the Main Street interchange and Canadian River bridge. The lowest bid was awarded last month for the construction on the Main Street bridge, which will be completely replaced.
“It only happens every 50 years,” said Shawn O’Leary, director of public works for the city. “It’s pretty significant.”
The bid was approved at $29 million and will be a joint venture between two firms which O’Leary said was “unique.” The two firms working on the project will be Manhattan Road and Bridge and Allen Construction.
The structure is currently a cloverleaf interchange but it will be replaced with a single point urban interchange (SPUI). There is only one other SPUI in Oklahoma that has just been finished in recent months on I-40 and Morgan Road in west Oklahoma City.
“It’s safe, it’s efficient, it handles traffic well and it’s actually cheaper,” O’Leary said.
Since the bridge has two structures, he said during construction of it they will be able to keep traffic flowing on one structure while the other is being worked on. Of course, that’s not without saying that the construction will be disruptive to interstate travelers and inner city travelers he said.
“Like any major construction project there will be certain lanes out of service at certain times,” O’Leary said.
He said he expects the project to take approximately 18 months.
Canadian River bridge:
The second project expected to begin in January involves the widening of the Canadian River bridge. It is currently an eight-lane bridge that will be turned into 10 lanes.
The bid for that project was awarded to Sherwood Construction Company at $15 million. O’Leary said this project should be fairly simpler and less disruptive because there are multiple lanes involved.